Monday, August 9, 2010

Historical Flask Blue Green Eagle Grapes President

I found these four bottles out and about in the Huntsville TX area. I Was just wondering if they are any good or not?

This is where I found my info:

Figured Flasks

"Scroll" shaped figured flasks from the 1850s; click to enlarge.Figured flasks is a generic name for the large class of liquor flasks primarily produced between 1815 and 1870. They are also variably referred to as "historical", "pictorial", or "decorative" flasks. The most simple classification of figured flasks are the "historical" flasks which are those with portraits of national heroes, presidents, personages; emblems or symbols of sovereignty, political parties, societies; inscriptions related to various subjects, famous sayings, or popular slogans; and "pictorial" flasks which bear purely decorative motifs (Munsey 1970; McKearin & Wilson 1978). Figured flasks were quite popular during this era because they were both functional and decorative typically having ornate embossing, designs, and/or molded features. Due to their esthetic and decorative nature, these flasks were infrequently discarded unless broken so many survived to the present day.

Generally following McKearin & Wilson (1978), figured flasks are loosely categorized in this section into the following groups: Decorative (e.g., scroll [a grouping of colorful scroll flasks to the above right], sunburst, cornucopia, geometric designs); Masonic; Historical (emblems/symbols of the U.S., heroes and celebrities, Presidential candidates, shield & clasped hands); Agriculture, Commerce, and Transportation; and Others (sports, Pike's Peak). Figured flasks also include calabash bottles (example below), which are covered separately here because of their distinctive shape, and some flasks that fit the form description but are just embossed with lettering, i.e.,, glassmaker or purchaser name/location.

Calabash bottle from the 1850s.Unlike most other types of liquor bottles which are generally more common without embossing, figured flasks are by definition embossed since the embossed motifs and molded designs are what defines them as figured flasks, though many shapes are also unique to this group (e.g., scroll flasks, calabash bottles). Unembossed flasks with shapes similar to some of the later (1860s primarily) figured flasks are considered generically in the "Flask (not considered figured)" category.

The figured flasks described here represent a small cross-section of the hundreds of different types made during their heyday. These type items are occasionally found on historic archaeological sites though usually as fragments since they were not usually discarded until broken. Most of the classification and dating information for this section is from McKearin & Wilson's epic work "American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry" (1978). This book is the source of information on figured flasks and contains by far the most comprehensive listing (with illustrations) and is the accepted classification system for figured flasks. The listing of figured flasks - pages 521-677 - was an update and expansion to the original listing found in McKearin & McKearin (1941). An alternative classification for figured flasks in McKearin & Wilson, which is pertinent to their dating, is a section entitled "Bottle Form or Shape Groups" (pages 512-517). Here the authors divide figured flasks into 9 distinct "Form Groups" and includes dating ranges for when that form group was first produced. The book also covers most other types of 18th and 19th century American bottles and is an almost mandatory reference for serious students of American made bottles of the 18th and 19th century.

Note: Because of the beauty - and possibly the intrinsic value - of figured flasks, many have been reproduced at various times during the 20th century. Some of these reproductions are very hard to discern from originals to the inexperienced eye. These reproductions are not covered here but are discussed in McKearin & Wilson on pages 678-696, through the 1978 publication date. The bottles pictured in this section are all early to mid-19th century originals.

Decorative flasks

The decorative group of flasks is a category of "pictorial" flasks made up of four primary types: scroll, sunburst, cornucopia, and geometric. These are categories from McKearin & Wilson (1978) and are covered in that reference on pages 420-436.

Pint scroll flask; click to enlarge.Scroll flasks: The figured flask pictured to the left (and the colorful group of five to the upper right) is commonly referred to by collectors as a scroll flask, though in the early days of collecting (and probably even now) they were referred to as "violin" flasks. What 19th century glass makers called these is lost to history. This style of flask was introduced around 1830 and were extremely popular through the 1840s and 1850s. Popularity apparently waned by the beginning of the Civil War (early 1860s) and it appears that very few if any were made after that time. Most scroll flasks were likely made by Midwestern glassmakers, though most do not have makers marks to allow for precise attribution. Scroll flasks are covered as Group IX in McKearin & Wilson (1978).

Scroll flasks were primarily made in half-pint, pint (most common size by far), and quart sizes, though smaller and larger examples are known, including a gallon size. Scroll flasks almost always have some type of pontil scar, i.e., glass-tipped, blowpipe, and iron pontils primarily; non-pontiled bases are rare in scroll flasks indicating that they likely do not post-date the early 1860s. The range of colors possible in these flasks is almost unlimited, though they were by most commonly made in shades of aquamarine - like the example above. Finishes found on these flasks included primarily the following: straight (sheared) and cracked-off (or subtle variations like the rolled, flare, or globular flare) sometimes with re-firing but often just left rough (example pictured to the right); rolled; double-ring; and champagne. If of interest, the details of scroll flask morphology nomenclature are discussed and illustrated on pages 422-423 of McKearin & Wilson (1978).Pint scroll flask in yellow green; click to enlarge.

The aqua scroll flask pictured above is very typical in design and likely dates from the late 1840s or 1850s. It is classified as GIX-12a in McKearin & Wilson (1978) and has a straight flared finish (sheared/cracked-off with and some re-firing), blow-pipe pontil scar on the base, and was made in a two-piece key mold. Click on the following links for more images of this pint scroll flask from different views: side view; base view; shoulder/neck close-up view. To the right is pictured a very similar pint scroll flask (GIX-15) in an unusual yellow green color with a cracked-off and non-refired finish; click thumbnail image to enlarge. Click quart scroll flask to view a picture of a quart sized scroll flask with a double-ring finish. This quart scroll also has an iron pontil scar, is classified as GIX-1 or 2, and likely dates from the mid to late 1850s. (A colorful grouping of five scroll flasks dating from the late 1840s to late 1850s is also shown at the top of this section above.)

Sunburst flask; click to enlarge.Sunburst flasks: Another very popular style of early figured flask is referred to as the "sunburst" flask, which encompasses various types based on the molded design on the body. Sunburst flasks are among some of the oldest of the figured flasks dating as early as 1812 to 1815 and as late as the 1840s for a few. Most are believed to have been primarily made by various New England glass works. Sunburst flasks are covered as Group VIII in McKearin & Wilson (1978).

Sunburst flasks were made in only pint and half-pint sizes. They all have pontil scars - either glass-tipped or blowpipe types - indicating early manufacture. Colors can vary somewhat widely, though the large majority are in shades of olive green and olive amber, various other true greens, shades of amber, and aqua. Finishes are typically straight (sheared) or cracked-off (or subtle variations like the rolled, flare, or globular flare) typically with with obvious re-firing; and occasionally with hard to classify variations of the double ring, mineral, or others. For more information on sunburst flasks check out the following external link:

Keene sunburst pint; click to enlarge.The olive amber half-pint flask pictured above is a typical 1820s to early 1830s design from the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works, Keene, NH. It is classified as GVIII-10, has a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, globular flare finish (sheared/cracked-off with tooling marks and re-firing), and was produced in a key mold. Click on the following links for more pictures of this flask: shoulder and neck/finish view; base view; side view. As an example of how a given type of bottle can be used or re-used for a non-type typical product, click on the following links: sunburst with label; close-up of the label. This shows an example of this same type sunburst flask that was used (or more likely re-used) for "SPTS. CAMPHOR" by a Pennsylvanian druggist. Spirits of camphor was historically used internally (an expectorant) and still is used externally (muscle aches and pains) though is now considered to be a more or less hazardous substance if ingested. It is definitely not a liquor though it has "spirits" in the name.

The pint, clear green sunburst flask pictured to the right is an earlier product of same Keene, NH. glass works as the flask above and is one of the earliest figured flasks dating from between 1815 and 1817 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). It is classified as GVIII-2, has a glass-tipped pontil scar on the base, a straight (sheared/cracked-off) fire-polished finish, and was produced in a two-piece hinge mold. These flasks are often called "two pounders" by collectors as they are almost decanter-like with heavy glass weighing between 2 and 3 pounds. Click the following links to view more pictures of this flask: shoulder and neck/finish close-up; base view; side view.

Cornucopia pint flask; click to enlarge.Cornucopia flasks: Flasks with the cornucopia and/or urn with fruit were a popular theme on flasks between about 1820 and 1850. They are covered as Group III in McKearin & Wilson (1978). Some of these flasks have an eagle design instead of the urn on the reverse, but are otherwise very similar. The symbols of the cornucopia and urn were easily recognized during the time as symbolic of the young country's (U.S.) good prospects and was a favorite motif in arts and crafts through the first half of the 19th century (McKearin & Wilson 1978).

Cornucopia flask reverse; click to enlarge.Cornucopia flasks were made in only the pint and half-pint sizes. These flasks seem to all have pontil scars - typically either a glass-tipped or blowpipe pontil - reflecting their early manufacturing dates; iron pontils are unusual. Colors are once again variable but dominated by olive green, olive amber, other shades of amber and green, and aqua. Finishes are almost always a of the straight (sheared) or cracked-off varieties (or subtle variations like the rolled, flare, or globular flare) typically with with obvious re-firing.

The pictured flask (both sides shown - cornucopia side to above left; urn to right) is a product of Coventry Glass Works, Coventry, CT. and is classified as GIII-4. It has a straight to slightly flared finish (sheared/cracked-off and fire polished), blowpipe pontil scar, and was name in a key mold. Click the following links to view more pictures of this flask: base view showing the blowpipe pontil scar; side view showing the multiple vertical ribs that are commonly found on this style of flasks which generally date between the 1820s and about 1850.

Geometric flasks: These flasks are very rare, very early (1810s or early 1820s), unusual, and unlikely to be encountered. Thus they are not covered. If interested in these types of flasks, refer to McKearin & Wilson (1978) page 436 (part of Group X: Miscellaneous flasks). Users can also find some information on these type flasks, including pictures, at the following link:

Masonic flasks

Pint masonic-eagle flask; click to enlarge.The flask pictured to the right is one of a relatively large and varied group of figured flasks that feature the somewhat variable Masonic motifs of the Freemasons, a potent political and social force during the first half of the 19th century. These could also be considered as "historical" flasks by some (Munsey 1970). Masonic flasks are covered as Group IV in McKearin & Wilson (1978). Most Masonic flasks have some type of design on the reverse that features an American eagle. These types of flasks are some of the earlier of the figured flasks dating primarily between 1815 and the 1830s though a few date as late as the Civil War. These later flasks have more simplistic Masonic-like emblems than their earlier ancestors (see McKearin & Wilson 1978:436-440). All of the Masonic flasks pictured/linked in this section are from the earlier era. (Note: One of the later type Masonic flasks is covered in the calabash section.)

These earlier Masonic flasks were only made in pint and less frequently, half-pint sizes. Like most figured flasks, the Masonic flasks can be found in a wide range of colors though most were produced in different shades of aqua, amber, and green (olive green, blue-green, olive amber). All of these earlier Masonic flasks are pontil scarred, usually of the glass-tipped or blowpipe type. Iron pontils are rare or possibly unknown (empirical observations). Finishes are usually straight (sheared), cracked-off, or rolled with occasional double ring or other simple applied finishes.

Zanesville Masonic-eagle pint flask; click to enlarge.The above pictured blue-green Masonic flask has a stylized eagle embossed on the reverse and dates between 1817 and about 1825. It is classified as GIV-1 in McKearin & Wilson (1978) and was produced by the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works (Keene, NH.). It was made in a two-piece hinge mold, has vertically ribbed sides, and a glass-tipped pontil scar on the base. Click on the following links for various view images of this flask: reverse side view with eagle; base view. Click Masonic-eagle flask to view a somewhat similar Masonic pint flask that likely dates from the early 1830s and is classified as GIV-17. It was also made at the same Keene glassworks as the previous flask, though a decade or more later. It has a fire polished sheared/cracked-off finish, blow-pipe pontil scar, and was blown in a two-piece hinge mold. Click Masonic-eagle reverse to see the other side of this flask.

Another shape type variation of Masonic-eagle flask - and a common flask shape during the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s - is pictured to the right. These flasks were made by the Zanesville Glass Manufactory (Zanesville, OH.) around 1826-1828 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). These flasks are classified as GIV-32 in McKearin & Wilson (1978). Click reverse side view to see the beautiful and elaborate eagle design on the reverse of this flask and the embossed name J. SHEPARD & CO. (below the eagle) who was one of the owners of the glassworks; click side view to see the ribbed sides; and click base view to see the glass-tipped pontil scarred base that shows the straight mold seam indicative of a hinge mold. As noted, this shape of flask in pints & half pints with ribbed sides was a very common style for figured flasks made between about 1820 and 1850 and is found with various embossed designs, portraits, etc..

Historical Flasks

This grouping of flasks is quite varied as to embossing, design, and shape. The unifying theme of these flasks - and what differentiates these flasks from other groups - is their historical connection be it emblematic, symbolic, or human. The following sub-categories are taken from McKearin & Wilson (1978) where the historical flasks are covered as all or parts of Groups I, II, X, XII primarily; see pages 440-491 of that reference for much more information.

Washington-Eagle flask reverse; click to enlarge.Emblems/Symbols of the U.S.: The most popular image on figured flasks is not surprisingly the American eagle - often embossed on both sides of the flask. Of the 323 flasks charted by McKearin & Wilson (1978), 159 are designated specifically as eagle flasks (Group II) with dozens more that have eagles on the designated reverse side. The diversity of different types of eagles is amazing, ranging from the bold and artistic eagles like shown to the right to stiff and simplistic eagles like shown at this link - Pike's Peak-eagle flask reverse view. In general, the more detailed and artistically pleasing eagles are on the earlier flasks (1820s to 1840s) and the more simplistic ones on the later flasks (1850s and 1860s) though there are exceptions of course (Munsey 1970). Other emblems/symbols found much less commonly include American flags, stars, sailing ships, anchors, monuments, cannons, the Liberty tree, and Columbia/Liberty.

Willington eagle pint flask; click to enlarge.Eagles or other symbols of the U.S. can be found throughout the entire date range of figured flasks - 1815 to about 1870. Because of this shapes, sizes, finishes, mold types, and manufacturing processes vary as widely as the period allows with no particular diagnostic features unique to the group like some of the other figured flask types. It is recommended that users interested in this particular group of figured flasks consult McKearin & Wilson (1978) for more specifics.

The flask pictured above is a "beaded edge" Washington-Eagle flask (GI-2) that dates from the 1820s or 1830s and was likely made by an early Pennsylvania glass company. It has a sheared/cracked-off and fire polished straight finish, glass-tipped pontil scar on the base, and was produced in a two-piece key mold. Click on the following links to view more images of this flask: pontil scarred base; shoulder and neck close-up; beaded and ribbed side view. The reverse of this flask features a bust of George Washington and is pictured below.

Double eagle flask with ribbed edges; click to enlarge.Another variation of the American eagle were the quite artistic versions found on the flasks produced by several Connecticut glass factories. The pint flask pictured to the right above is a product of the Willington Glass Company of West Willington, CN. and is so embossed on the reverse. It classifies as GII-62, has a smooth cup-bottom mold conformation (a very unusual mold type for the era), and a crudely applied double ring finish. These flasks were produced using both pontil rods (pontil scarred) as well as a snap-case tools (smooth base). This company was in business from 1815 to 1872 with these flasks dating from the late 1850s and 1860s (McKearin & Wilson 1978). Click on the following links for more pictures of this flask: reverse side view, cup-bottom molded base view, side view, shoulder and neck close-up.

Yet another variation of the American eagle is found on highly ornate flasks that were likely first made by one of the many Louisville, KY. glass companies during the mid to late 1840s (pictured to the right). This pint flask (examples also were produced in the quart and half gallon sizes) has a blowpipe pontil scar, was blown in a two-piece key mold, and is classified as GII-24. Click on the following links for more pictures of this flask: side view, base view, shoulder and neck close-up.

Washington-Eagle pint flask; click to enlarge.Heroes, Celebrities & Presidential Candidates: The likeness of many people are emblazoned on the sides of figured flasks. However, none were as popular as George Washington with at least 72 flasks bearing his likeness. Other flasks have the likenesses of General Lafayette (Revolutionary War hero), DeWitt Clinton (Erie Canal), Zachary Taylor (12th President), Jenny Lind (singer), Andrew Jackson (7th President), Louis Kossuth (Hungarian Patriot), William Harrison (9th President), and others. Most of these flasks are referred to as "portrait flasks" and are included within Group I in McKearin & Wilson (1978).

Flasks in this category are a mixed lot with little physical commonality except that they are flasks and made during the figured flask period of 1815 to 1870 or so. Colors, shapes, sizes, finishes, and other manufacturing methods vary as widely as the period allows. There are even a few late 19th century flasks that were produced for Presidential elections (Grover Cleveland, William Jennings Bryan, William McKinley) that are cataloged within this group.

General Taylor on a Washington-Taylor flask; click to enlarge.The flask pictured above right is a Washington-Eagle flask (GI-2) that was discussed above with links to more pictures of the item. It is embossed GENERAL WASHINGTON encircling the embossed portrait of the first president.

Some of the most common flasks in this category are the Washington-Taylor series of flasks, which contains at least 37 different examples. The picture to the right is of a very common quart size version (GI-37) with General Taylor on one side (with the embossing GENERAL TAYLOR NEVER SURRENDERS - a reference to his Mexican War exploits in 1847) and George Washington on the other (with the embossing THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY). These flasks originated during Taylor's 1848 Presidential campaign but appear to have been produced up until about the Civil War. The pictured example has a smooth base (no pontil scar), a very crudely applied "packer" type finish (single collar) that was laid around the cracked-off neck end, and was blown in a two-piece hinge mold (straight mold seam dissecting the base). Click on the following links for several more pictures of this flask: reverse view with George Washington embossing; base view with dissecting mold seam. Most of the Washington-Taylor flasks were blown at the Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, PA.

Union-Clasped Hands embossing; click to enlarge.Shield & Clasped Hands: During the 1860s the struggle to preserve the Union was paramount in peoples minds and the images related to that struggle popular. The "shield & clasped hands" flasks usually have at least the following embossing pattern on one side (close-up picture to the left): clasped hands inside of a shield, stars embossed above the shield, branches with pinnate leaves to the side of the shield, and often the work "UNION" somewhere in the pattern. There are many embossing variations with additional items like the one pictured which has a Masonic-like compass below the clasped hands; others have makers marks incorporated into the pattern. Though variable, the reverse side of these flasks usually have a flying eagle with a ribbon banner in its beak (pictured in the next section on calabash bottles).

Clasped Hands & Shield calabash; click to enlarge.Although the pictured shield & clasped hands bottle is "calabash" in shape, most are flatter more typical flasks shaped similarly to the Pike's Peak flask noted later in this section ("Other Figured Flasks"). Click on the following links to see the front and reverse pictures of a typical shaped pint shield & clasped hands flask: GXII-17 front, GXII-17 reverse (photos courtesy of Jeff Noordsy Antiques). These type of flasks were made in quart, pint, and half-pint sizes. As these flasks date from the later end of the figured flask era (primarily 1860s), they are infrequently pontil scarred, and when pontiled they are usually an iron pontil. Finishes on these bottles vary substantially from sheared and/or cracked-off and fire polished, to champagne style, to an oil type finish like the pictured bottle. Most of the shield & clasped hands flasks are included within Group XII in McKearin & Wilson (1978), though a few are in Group IV like the pictured bottle.

The pictured bottle has an embossing pattern that is quite typical of the shield & clasped hands flasks, just a different shape - calabash. As noted, the embossing does include a Masonic type compass and is included within the Masonic flask group as GIV-42. These bottles were made by A. R. Samuels of Philadelphia, PA. (Keystone Glass Works) which was in business for a relatively short period from 1866 to about 1874 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). This particular bottle has a blowpipe pontil scar and was blown in a two-piece post-bottom mold. This is about as late as pontil rods were generally used on bottles but shows that they indeed did see use well into the 1860s on some items. Click on the following links for several more pictures of this bottles: reverse view, base view with pontil scar, side view, neck and finish close-up.

Calabash bottles

Calabash bottle from the 1850s.Calabash bottles are large, gourd or pear shaped bottles (sometimes called flasks also) which were quite popular during the mid 19th century, i.e., 1840s to around 1870. The name presumably originates from the resemblance of these bottles to the hard shelled, gourd-like fruits of the tropical American "calabash tree" - Crescentia cujete (Gilman & Watson 1993). Calabash bottles as a group are lumped together in most peoples minds by their shape but are actually classified in McKearin & Wilson (1978) by what is portrayed via the embossing so they fall out in many groups. The origin of this distinctive bottle shape is attributed to Philadelphia mold maker Philip Doflein who reportedly created the first calabash bottle mold in the 1840s (WheatonArts website - - 2009).

Calabash bottle with eagle; click to enlarge.Calabash bottles are referred to as "quart" size, but usually held around 1.5 quarts, though different types do have varying capacities (McKearin & Wilson 1978). Most calabash bottles were blown in two-piece post-bottom molds, can be found with various pontil scars or with smooth (non-pontiled) domed bases, and virtually always have some type of applied finish - usually a brandy, bead, oil, or blob finish. Unlike most other groups of figured flasks, calabash bottles were not apparently made with straight (sheared or cracked-off) finishes.

The calabash pictured to the above right has an image of - and the words - JENNY LIND embossed on the front and is classified as GI-99. Jenny Lind, a singer who was know as the "Swedish Nightingale", was lured to the America by P. T. Barnum for a series of performances in 1850 and 1851. The reverse side has an embossed building with a smokestack and the words GLASS WORKS / S. HUFFSEY and was likely the product of the Isabella Glass Works (New Brooklyn, NJ). These bottles date from the 1850s though there is evidence that the mold was used as late as 1870 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). Click on the following links for more pictures of this calabash bottle: reverse side with glass works embossing, base with pontil scar.

The calabash to the right was described in the previous section on shield & clasped hands flasks, though this is an image of the reverse showing the eagle with the banner in its beak. It dates from the mid to late 1860s. Click on the following links for several more pictures of this bottle: base view with pontil scar, side view, neck and finish close-up.

Agriculture, Commerce, and Transportation theme flasks

Success to the Railroad flask; click to enlarge.This is another broad class of figured flasks that include embossing and motifs that deal with U.S. economic and social life such as agriculture, transportation, commerce, and even temperance! These flasks are a mixed lot with little physical commonality except that they are flasks and made during the figured flask period of 1815 to 1870. The do not have a group of their own, but are instead listed among several groups in McKearin & Wilson (1978). Colors, shapes, sizes, finishes, and other manufacturing methods vary as widely as the period allows. A couple flasks within this category are shown for examples representing the earlier and later ends of the period. For more information see McKearin & Wilson (1978) pages 491-495.

Corn for the World flask; click to enlarge.The transportation related flask to the right has a horse drawn wagon on tracks and the embossed lettering SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD. The railroad flasks (there are several different variations covered as Group V in McKearin & Wilson (1978)) celebrated the burgeoning railroad system which began in the 1820s. The pictured flask was likely first produced about 1830 and has the same embossing pattern on both sides. It has a straight to slightly flared finish (sheared/cracked-off and fire polished with some tooling), blowpipe pontil scar, and was produced in a two-piece key mold. The pictured example classifies as GV-3 and was produced by the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works, Keene, NH. Click on the following links for more pictures of this very crude flask: base view showing the pontil scar, side view showing the vertical ribs, close-up view of the shoulder and neck.

The agriculture/commerce related flask to the right has a large ear of corn embossed and the embossed lettering CORN FOR THE WORLD. The reverse side has the Baltimore Monument embossed with the word "Baltimore." This quart size flask classifies as GVI-4, has a smooth (non-pontiled) base, applied double ring finish, and was blown in a two-piece hinge mold by the Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, MD. This particular flask likely dates from the 1860s, though other "Corn for the World" flasks also appear to date as early as the 1840s (McKearin & Wilson 1978; Hagenbuch 2005). Click on the following links to view more pictures of this flask: base view, reverse view with Baltimore Monument, side view, close-up view of shoulder, neck, and finish.

Other Figured Flasks

Pikes Peak pint flask; click to enlarge.This category of figured flasks covers the flasks that do not fit into the previous categories. This includes flasks that have primarily sports related themes (hunting, fishing, horse racing, bicycling - mostly in McKearin & Wilson's Group XIII), those with just lettering (Group XIV & XV), and the large grouping of Pike's Peak items (Group XI). These flasks are also a mixed lot with little physical commonality except that they are flasks and made during the figured flask period. Colors, shapes, sizes, finishes, and other manufacturing methods vary as widely as the period allows. For more information on these variable flasks see McKearin & Wilson (1978) pages 491-495.

Cunninghams & Ihmsen flask; click to enlarge.The pictured flask is one of the Pike's Peak assortment and is classified as GXI-17. This flask has a smooth base, an applied finish that is a cross between a packer and patent finish type, and was blown in a two-piece key mold. Click on the following links for more pictures of this flask: reverse side view, base view, close-up of shoulder, neck, and finish. This group of flasks typically have a prospective miner walking with a cane and stick/bag over his shoulder on one side and an eagle on top of an oval frame on the reverse. These popular flasks played on the excitement of the 1858-1859 gold rush to Colorado, which was then part of Kansas-Nebraska. Given that fact, we know that none of these flasks pre-dates 1859 which is confirmed by the majority being smooth based; pontils scars are known but very uncommon in these type flasks. The best source of additional information on the Pike's Peak flasks, besides McKearin & Wilson (1978), is Eatwell & Clint's book "Pike's Peak Gold" (2000).

The flask pictured to the right is listed in McKearin & Wilson (1978) as a figured flask (GXV-5), but has only embossed lettering (CUNNINGHAM & IHMSEN / GLASS MAKERS / PITTSBURGH, PA). This flask dates from between 1857 and 1867 (probably latter end of that range as it is not pontil scarred) and is fairly typical of this category of flasks, though they do vary a lot in form (McKearin & Wilson 1978). (See the "Flasks (not considered figured)" section below for a large assortment of other type liquor flasks, including this flask.)

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